UTICA, N.Y. (WUTR/WFXV/WPNY) – A new report by state comptroller DiNapoli finds that the New York state workforce is down 19,000 the last two years, marking the largest decline after the great recession.

The COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on New York State’s labor force was more severe than in other states.

According to DiNapoli’s report, the size of New York State’s workforce declined more rapidly than the rest of the nation in 2020 and continued to shrink in 2021 when other states recovered.

As the graphics are shown, the number of jobs closely follows the same trend as the number of employed workers, with both increasing from 2011 to reach new highs in 2019, before the COVID-19 pandemic spurred a sharp contraction.

Only three of the state’s 10 regional labor markets (Long Island, New York City, and the Hudson Valley) were larger in 2021 than they were in 2011, with Central New York and Mohawk Valley losing workers, with a decline rate of 7.2% and 9.7%.

There are a variety of reasons why a person may not participate in the labor force. Other than being at school or retirement, disabilities, stay-at-home parents, or caregivers for family members top the unemployment reasons list.

DiNapoli stated that New York has historically had lower labor force participation than other states. Its labor force participation rate has averaged over two percentage points less than the rest of the nation in the last 10 years, ranking it 40th among all the states.

DiNapoli also stated in the report that New York has a well-educated workforce, an encouraging characteristic in a skills-based economy. However, New York has lost workers at lower educational levels. DiNapoli urges more attention paid to the labor force’s underlying structure to attract and retain essential workers.

Collectively, the declining trends suggest that challenges may lie ahead for economic growth, State and local tax collections, and services supported by those taxes. We will continue to monitor labor force data and provide insights into the composition and changes that occur that are critical to the State’s economy.